While Gerard Manley Hopkins was a classical scholar, Oxford Don, well versed in the aesthetics of Ruskin and the philosophy of Duns Scotus, Patrick Kavanagh, on the other hand, a poor farmer, had probably never heard of either. He completed his formal education at 14 years of age; school records indicate that he has not been promoted into Sixth Class. Yet, they both found God compellingly present in the created universe.
To argue any strong resemblance in background, temperament and upbringing of the distinguished Oxford Don, Gerard Manley Hopkins and the socially inept, self-educated farmer-poet Patrick Kavanagh, must surely appear ludicrous. Hopkins was born into a Victorian upper middle-class family in Stratford in 1844, got the best English public-school education available, while Kavanagh, the son of a cobbler was born sixty years later in the townland of Mucker, Inniskeen, Co Monaghan and did not progress beyond fifth standard in the small, rural, two-teacher, at Kednaminsha.